The relationship between alcohol consumption and sleep disturbance is complex. Alcohol acts as a sedative and reduces sleep onset latency5, and as such, may be used proactively to relieve insomnia6. However, there is evidence that alcohol consumption also disrupts sleep, particularly the period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep7. The perpetual use of alcohol as a sleep aid may be a counterproductive long-term strategy as alcohol disrupts sleep quality and intensifies the need to consume more alcohol8. The association of alcohol dependence with insomnia may be bidirectional in nature9.

Given the promise of these interventions, longitudinal research examining the efficacy of insomnia treatment with larger samples are needed. Finally, only six studies provided outcome data for both sleep quality and alcohol abstinence. Future research would be improved by consistent reporting of both sleep and alcohol use outcomes. Future research may also target demographic subgroups that were not fully represented in this review.

Sleep Medicine Physician

However, in contrast to hypotheses, they found that participants in the trazodone group reported a smaller increase in abstinent days than those in the placebo group. The authors speculate that the pharmacological properties of trazodone may have induced craving in their participants and, upon cessation, may have induced symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, triggering consumption (Friedmann et al., 2008). However, their sample also consisted of recently detoxified patients, only 25% of whom had engaged in formal substance use treatment by one-month follow-up. It is possible that, without the support of formal treatment, quick alleviation of insomnia symptoms led to a minimization of detoxification and withdrawal symptoms that facilitated alcohol relapse. Intervention participants also reported improvements in symptoms of depression following insomnia treatment. Given the small sample sizes and methodological weaknesses of the studies reviewed, additional research is needed to determine the efficacy of insomnia treatment in improving rates of alcohol relapse within this population.

Sleep disruptions may increase the risk that a person will feel tired, which might cause a person to reach for a drink if they feel like they can sleep sober. Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term. Many insomnia and alcoholism of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention. Some people in recovery may try to start drinking again to improve their sleep. However, the alcohol will continue to damage their sleep cycles, and the problem will not get better.

Alcohol And Insomnia Statistics

The solution seems simple; they have another beer, another glass of wine, another shot. The more they take, the more they feel they need, and soon, they’ve built a dependency on alcohol in order to feel relaxed. If left untreated, chronic sleep apnea can drastically impact your quality of life and lead to serious health concerns, such as weight gain and obesity, hypertension, stroke, memory impairment and heart failure. Alcohol further increases the effects of sleep apnea by relaxing the muscles in the throat, collapsing the upper airway and lowering oxygen levels.